Technology Skills for Blind Teens
Assistive technology gives your child access to print, access to produce printed or braille material, access to online resources for learning and training, the ability to efficiently take notes, and opportunities to develop useful work skills.
What your child needs to know about technology:
- How to use technology efficiently and in real-world situations. This takes practice, practice, practice, including using technology in community settings and in unfamiliar environments.
- How to care for devices, including storage, cleaning, and safe transportation.
- How to respond when technology is not working properly, starting with basics like turning a device off and on again, checking the power connections, and learning various reset features specific to the device. Beyond that, knowing when one needs tech support and how to find it is a skill as well.
- What to do when technology is broken or unavailable. Your child should have a backup plan when possible. For example, if the BrailleNote is not working, a slate and stylus can be available for recording a phone number or address. If your teen’s GPS is malfunctioning or she missed the bus, she will need to know how to call a taxi.
- How to keep up with changes and advances in technology. If your child’s goal is remaining current in a specific career field, she will need to keep current in whatever assistive technology gives her access to information as well as keeping current in job-specific developments. To do so, your child can subscribe to an online assistive technology magazine such as AFB AccessWorld.
- How to weigh the pros and cons of updated technology, ask mentors for advice, and research reviews online. The goal is to make informed decisions on which technology is worth purchasing, either by your child or by her employer.
- To prepare for job interviews, practice demonstrating assistive technology quickly and using simple terms.
- Understand the likely fears of potential employers when it comes to her assistive technology. Technology looks, and often is, expensive! Part of your child’s presentation to potential employers should include any technology she already owns as well as approximate costs for technology she would want the company to purchase and information on vocational rehabilitation financial help in purchasing assistive technology used for work.
- Who to contact for assistive technology needs and training when your child moves to a new area.
Seizing opportunities to become an expert in assistive technology is crucial to your child’s access to schooling and careers, and thus to her future quality of life.